"We went to war." Shawn Thornton was absolutely right about that.
In perhaps the most memorable game of the season thus far, the Boston Bruins battled and bruised the Dallas Stars on the first of November.
At that point, the Bruins' roster had already been a tight-knit group for nearly a year, but it took several cheap shots by the abysmal duo of Sean Avery and Steve Ott to form an unbreakable bond within the Boston Garden's locker room.
There's no denying that whenever a player becomes part of a new team, there's a certain amount of time it may take to incorporate that new face into an already tight unit. But, once a few eyebrows have been raised, confidence begins to build, and the seamless transition between individual and team occurs.
Last season, it was Shawn Thornton, Shane Hnidy, and Milan Lucic who successfully proved themselves. This year, Matt Hunwick, Blake Wheeler, and (a healthy) Manny Fernandez have had the task of stepping up their game to earn the respect of their peers.
Once that bond is made, every player defends their teammates whenever necessary.
And when someone like Avery barrels into the knees of Milan Lucic, a response is called for. Marc Savard answered, plowing into a vulnerable Avery and initiating a pig pile.
The Stars weren't the only notable foe to find out just how tight this team is. If you look at any game where there has been a questionable hit by the B's opponent, you'll find a fitting response by one of Boston's towering figures on the ice.
With sheriffs like Lucic, Chara, Ward, Stuart, Hnidy, and Thornton on the ice, the Bruins' opponents may want to reconsider following through with their borderline hit. If not, they may have a few new bruises to show for their effort.